OverviewThe Rapid Bioassessment Protocols were originally developed in the 1980's to provide cost-effective, efficient biological survey techniques. They have since been revised and were reissued in 1999. The concepts underlying the RBPs are:
- Cost-effective, scientifically valid procedures for biological surveys,
- Provisions for multiple site investigations in a field season,
- Quick turn-around of results for management decisions, and
- Scientific reports easily translated to management and the public.
The RBPs were synthesized from existing bioassessment methods used by several state water resource agencies. The protocols are appropriate as tools for:
- Determining if a stream is supporting a designated aquatic life use specified in state Water Quality Standards,
- Characterizing the existence and severity of impairment to the water resource,
- Helping to identify the sources and causes of impairment,
- Evaluating the effectiveness of control actions and restoration activities,
- Supporting use attainability studies and cumulative impact assessment, and
- Characterizing regional biotic attributes of reference conditions.
Forty-three states currently use bioassessments in non-regulatory water resource management. Once the framework for bioassessment is established, biological monitoring can be easily and rather inexpensively performed using the RBPs. To see examples of how two state agencies are using the RBPs in their water resource programs, please click on the following: